I’m working on my mating list for when we have to repopulate the world.

YOU GUYS. I TOTALLY FINISHED MY #JUNGLEJANUARY PROJECT. WHUT.

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It’s a big day y’all. A. Big. Day. This is my second Jungle January, but the first one with real clothes (last year was just a little belt.)
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I made the Tania culottes from Megan Nielson, done with aplomb by such ladies as Lladybird Lauren (TWICE!), Sew Busy Lizzy, and Scruffy Badger. The fabric I’d been dreaming about turns out to have been the EXACT same as used by Lizzy, but I couldn’t find something like it to save my life. I ended up ordering something from Fabric.com that was out of stock! Booooo. I went on twitter to moan about it, as one does, and Fabric.com tweeted back some options. I found a good replacement (rayon challis, so soft and slippery) and waited for the mail to arrive.

I did something with this pattern I’ve never done before- I traced it. After all the work of trying to put those printed pieces perfectly together, I felt it was worth it never to have to do it again, and have all the sizes intact if I need to make changes. Pro-tip: if using parchment paper for tracing, NOTHING FREAKING STICKS TO IT. Scotch tape (cellotape) definitely doesn’t, and duct tape barely does. I mean, after I thought about it, that’s the whole point of parchment paper for baking, but still. Remember that.

Something else I did with project was to make a muslin while I waited for my real fabric to come. I wanted to be sure not to waste my good stuff! I used an old sheet that got bleach holes in it from the laundromat. The size large fit perfectly, so I went with that, but lengthened it about three inches when the time came. I starched the shiz out of my challis in the hopes it would make it easier to cut/sew. It did help, especially when I really starched it up. You almost need to get the fabric WET with the starch, let it all soak in really well, and THEN iron. I will do this in the future, for sure. It made cutting and sewing so much less shoddy.

To those who’ve done this pattern- did you have problems understanding the stupid pleats? I swear, it took me forever, because just doing it as the directions say didn’t seem right (it is, though.) I got help from Lauren via twitter, and just went with it from there. Also, sometime after putting the front and back pieces together, I forgot which was which, so when I tried it on, I kept flipping it forwards and backwards to see what was more comfortable.

Something else that didn’t seem right was the length of the waistband. I lined it up as I was supposed to and this is what happened:

LOLWUT

LOLWUT

It’s perfectly lined up on one side, and has a sizeable excess at the other. Derr herr. Not sure what went wrong there, because I have never cut anything so slowly or carefully in my life. It didn’t really matter, I just chopped it off when I was sure it wasn’t essential- but it was weird.

I used my loving husband to help me even up the hem length after I let this puppy hang for a good 24 hours. People are right- bias streeeeeeetches like nobody’s business. I ended up lopping off about three inches in some spots and nothing in others, so somehow my adding three inches didn’t really do much, but I’m sure my butt is more covered than it otherwise would be.

Since I couldn’t figure out my front from back, and since I don’t have an invisible zipper foot (yet), I decided to hand-pick a centered zipper, which was a new thing for me. This way, I could just wear the culottes in whichever direction on wanted, and there wouldn’t be a flap to look backwards or out of place. It’s actually really damn easy! It’s not perfect, but I do like the look of it a lot. I’m definitely going to do this on future projects.

To finish up the hems, I did a rolled edge using my serger. I did a bunch of practice pieces first to get the hang of it, and it wasn’t so bad! It’s definitely difficult to go over any kind of seam, and I had to go back and hand-finish a few parts, but it looks so nice for the most part. I will certainly use this finish on other lightweight fabrics! The inside edges I serged as I went, except for the seam with the zipper, which I forgot to do until the whole damn thing was finished. For now, I just zig-zagged up the sides. When I set my serger up to do overlocking again, I’ll probably go in and zip that edge along so it looks nicer.

It's not a skirt!

It’s not a skirt!

This project had its frustrating moments, particularly some bits using my serger (I’m almost a total newb at this machine) but luckily I was able to get through most of the problems with some deep breathing and a few breaks, haha. I’m also getting pretty baller at threading the damn thing.

I'm normal, I promise.

I’m normal, I promise.

It was so cool to be able to try something new (hand-picking zippers, rolled edge hems) and have it mostly work out! I often get frustrated when something doesn’t go perfectly the first time (I may or may not be extremely Type A), so I need to tell myself to slow down and that I’m still learning. UGH. CAN’T I JUST BE PERFECT THE FIRST TIME? No. No, I cannot.

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This was a really fun way to get back into the swing of sewing clothes after several quilt projects, so thanks to Anne for once again holding Jungle January (part the second.)

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I road-tested these at work today, and they did pretty well. I tucked my sweater into them, which may have made them ride up a little higher than when I tried them on while making them up, so the crotchal region rode up a little tight-ish. When I wear them again, I’ll wear a lighter shirt to see if that has them ride a titch lower. If not, I’ll either add about 1/2 inch to the waist size, or use the same waist size, but the XL crotch seam. I have a pretty high waist, so I’m hoping either of these changes will help the fitting issue (if it continues to be one.) I will also remember to finish the edges on the damn zipper seam BEFORE the whole thing is done. Gawl.

Spin-fail. Bojangles ears are photobombing.

Spin-fail. Bojangles ears are photobombing.

Next up for me is another small quilt. What are you working on next?

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And then, Meat Cat flies away on his skateboard!

jungle janThe delightfully funny prttynpnk (which I always read as “Pretty in PUNK, even though it’s probably pink) over at Petty Grievances is holding Jungle January- the theme of the month is to use animal prints more often, because they are AWESOME. Well, the other ones showcased at her site are; this one is just a little doo-dad.

I'm ready for my close-up.

I’m ready for my close-up.

This is a belt I’ve made before, using Tilly’s tutorial. I’ve actually had the fabric for over one year, and this was just the kick I needed to finally make the damn thing.

011I got all gussied up for these photos and everything; sponge-rollers over night, y’all! COMMITMENT.

012This goes together pretty quickly, and doesn’t use much fabric.  I used belting instead of interfacing so it’d be stiffer and more belt-like. It’s hard for me to wear belts; I don’t have much of a waist. I’m built much like a boy*, very up and down, except for some pretty great boobs (I like my boobs.)

*see close-up above

I’m hoping to make a leopard skirt at some point, but it won’t be until at least March (I’m going to be in Belize for all of February). I also think it’d be neat to make bias-binding in leopard or other animal print, and use it on necklines, sleeves, hems, etc.

Thanks to prttynpnk for holding a fun theme month! Check out her site and see all the other great projects from the month.

What’s your favorite way to use animal print?